Run D.M.C. Fun Fun Fun Fest Auditorium Shores, Austin November 2, 2012
SLIDESHOWS: The Girls of Fun Fun Fun Fest
Ten years ago, almost to the day, Hip-Hop lost one of its most adored and influential pioneers. His passing left a void that neither his family, his group, nor his fans could ever begin to fill. Sadly, as is somewhat common in Hip-Hop, his murder remains unsolved.
Jason Mizell, better known as Jam Master Jay, was hip-hop. He was a supreme talent at mixing, scratching, beat-juggling, and beat-making, providing the backbone for the rhymes delivered by his friends and fellow Queens, N.Y. natives Joseph Simmons and Darryl McDaniels, all together known as Run-D.M.C.
Their career together spanned almost 20 years, and influenced countless other dee-jays and lyricists that would also make hip-hop into the beacon of cultural cool that it is today.
With one bullet, it was all over.
Ten years later, a shimmer of light shines upon this tragedy. After recording and touring solo, and a foray into reality television, it was announced that the remaining members of Run-D.M.C. would play a show together once again. The comeback was set for Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin Texas. (Of course, Jay-Z had to steal our thunder when he convinced the group to perform at his #MadeInAmerica Festival in Philly back in September; we were also there for that too, by the way).
So there we stood under the stars and the skyline of the capital of the great state of Texas, ready to be hit with a bit of magic and a whole lotta attitude. The banner draped behind the stage left no question as to who we were waiting for. Anticipation grew as the smoke started to fill the stage and the lights began to shine. After a quick intro, we heard a familiar voice:
"Run... D.M.C. Rock! For you! Fresh..."
"Rock Box" and "Sucka MC's" were offered up first, much to the delight of FFFF's largest crowd of the day, many wearing T-shirts with the iconic letters of the group's logo. We even spotted a few Kangols, shell-toe Adidas, and dookie-rope chains in the mix.
Rev. Run brought his attitude with him, his character more vulgar than previously seen, but passionate and dedicated to providing his fans with the excellence the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer is known to deliver. D.M.C., even when rapping his parts, seemed subdued and reflective in his fedora and Nirvana T-shirt, but he, too also delivered his performance with a pronounced dignity.
The two, both almost 50, went at it hard, with inspired renditions of "It's Like That" and "It's Tricky" causing the crowd to jump and sing along in pure, hip-hop delight. Run directed his counterpart to get closer to the crowd in the front row for "King of Rock," then begged us to answer the famous "Whose house?" question during "Run's House".
"Damn it feels good to be out here," proclaimed Run. Whether he meant performing after a ten-year hiatus (except Philly) or just happy to distract his mind after enduring Hurricane Sandy, we can't be certain, but it was probably a bit of both.
He told a story about how show promoters would be upset when they showed up to gigs without a band. "We don't need a band, we have (Jam Master) Jay!" he recalled. "We still don't need no band, no dancers, no nothing. Just us." he continued, following his statements with the call and response classic "Peter Piper."
During a brief intermission, Jam Master Jay's two sons took the stage. Each of them is a talented DJ in his own right, and they took turns pumping up the crowd with beat juggling and scratching on the turntables. Jam-Master J'Son and Dasmatic truly embody their father's legacy, jumping genres and styles, tempos and beat-drops with finesse and excitement.
The night ended perfectly with "My Adidas" and "Walk This Way," two of the most recognizable and hyped tracks that hip-hop has ever seen.
The Reverend ended the night with a round of thank you's:
"We love you Austin, Texas!" he said. "Thank you Fun Fun Fun Fest for getting us back together!"
Run-D.M.C. will forever be in the heart of Hip-Hop as the greatest rap crew to ever do it. Seeing them do it one more time was an honor for us and everyone in the audience at Auditorium Shores.
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"It's like that! And that's the way it is!"